Kukla's Korner

Blackhawks force Game 7 in Western Conference Final

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Both the Western and Eastern Conference Final series will go to 7th games after the Chicago Blackhawks held off a late push by the Anaheim Ducks and defeated Anaheim 5-2.

The teams will battle on Saturday night in Anaheim, battling for a Stanley Cup Final berth, and of Duncan Keith's 3 assists, this one may have been the prettiest...

But these goals counted equally:

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Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: anaheim+ducks, chicago+blackhawks, duncan+keith

Report: Bylsma Deal With Sabres Is “Imminent”

Blog: The Sabres Observer By @DaveDavisHockey

It's the worst kept secret in Buffalo, but Dan Bylsma is apparently going to be the next head coach of the Sabres.

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Filed in: | The Sabres Observer | Permalink
  Tags: bylsma+sabres

Dylan Larkin adjusting to the whirlwind of turning pro, joning Griffins’ ranks

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated at 10:18 PM: It's a Grand Rapids Griffins evening on TMR, and just before NHL game time, WOOD TV8's Larry Figurski has posited an article in which Griffins coach Jeff Blashill, captain Jeff Hoggan and players Tom McCollum and Nick Jensen weigh in on the early returns for one Dylan Larkin, a Red Wings prospect who'd endured a helluva whirlwind in traveling from Ann Arbor to Prague, back to Metro Detroit, and now New York and Grand Rapids as his professional career's taken flight:

“The guys have been pretty good and welcoming and made me feel pretty comfortable right way,” Larkin said after his first home practice on Wednesday. “That’s probably been the biggest help. The coaches have done a great job teaching me the system and how we play.”

It was just eight days ago that the Michigan Wolverine and Big Ten ‘Freshman of the Year’ decided to turn pro.

“I drove home, signed the contract, faxed it in, started packing, had dinner and then left for Grand Rapids,” Larkin said. “So it’s been pretty crazy.”

Though he’s only 18 years old, Larkin spent the previous several weeks overseas playing for Team USA with and against a host of NHL players at the Hockey World Championships in the Czech Republic.

“I learned a lot from all the pros overseas and how to handle yourself and how to be a pro,” Larkin said. “That was a great experience for me.”

Figurski continues, interviewing the aforementioned narrators, and there also happens to be a video attached to the story:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Open Post- Game 6 Western Conference Finals, Anaheim Ducks vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Game 6 is in Chicago tonight with puck drop just after 8:00pm ET and is on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.

You know the storyline, Ducks win they move on to the Stanley Cup Final while the Blackhawks will try to force game 7 in Anaheim on Saturday night.

Feel free to discuss the game.

FYI, game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals is Friday night so tomorrow is a hockey-free day.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Wallner tells the story of Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I've met some strong leaders in my time as a hockey blogger and reporter of sorts, and one of the most intense, dedicated and determined leaders I've encountered hasn't played an NHL game in 5 years.

Grand Rapids Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan is the perfect hard-edged, hard-nosed veteran to lead a rotating corps of future Red Wings and future minor pros brought together for the same cause, and this evening, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner tells the story of how Hoggan became such an integral part of the Griffins' game-winning-and-player-developmental machine:

How important has Jeff Hoggan been in the Griffins' emergence as a top AHL franchise the past three seasons? When coach Jeff Blashill was asked if the Griffins would have won the Calder Cup Trophy in 2013 or reached the conference finals this season without Hoggan, he shot back:

"Not a chance."

Hoggan is the intermediary. He can walk the line when necessary - take the coach's message and relay it in player-speak and still be respected by both. Hoggan is still productive. In the regular season he had 14 goals and 31 points and was the only player on the Griffins to play all 76 games.

Roll those together, add in a work ethic that causes young twenty-somethings to take inventory, and the oldest skater in the league may also have its biggest heart.

"He leads by such an example that he brings the culture of your work ethic to such a level that everybody improves," Blashill said. "Everybody gets better as a hockey team because of the way he carries himself."

Wallner continues, telling quite the tale...

Update: And Fox 17 profiled Hoggan, Brennan Evans and Nathan Paetsch, too (warning, auto-play after-you-play-it video).

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

A 5-day-old Babcock interview that’s still worth your time

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

This blog is community-driven in terms of its content, from the comments section, from Twitter, from Facebook, email, my readers are very interactive, and while I may not get into some of the disputes, we do talk about topics that need to be addressed and content that you'd like to see.

RWBill stated that Mike Babcock's interview with Mitch Albom last Friday was not to be missed, and while it took a full five days for WJR to post the interivew, I agree that this offers a different perspective on Babcock's decision-making process and his perspective after having made media appearances in both Tornoto and Detroit. This is a little more reflective Babcock, and that's intriguing...

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Gave: Red Wings don’t need Larkin to become an overnight NHL sensation

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

We received a "very disappointed" from Jimmy Devellano when Keith Gave asked the Red Wings' vice president about Anthony Mantha's rookie-season struggles, and today, Devellano spoke with Gave regarding Dylan Larkin, urging caution regarding an 18-year-old (he doesn't turn 19 until July 30th) who still has the developmental curve ahead of him--because the Wings have the depth to be patient with Larkin:

[Y]es, with Pavel Datsyuk (who turns 37 on July 20) and Henrik Zetterberg (35 in October) on the back nine of their careers, the Wings are desperate for a star to emerge in the next couple of years. They're privately as delighted as fans are by what they've seen from Larkin over the past year, but all the front-office optimism comes with a healthy dose of caution, as well.

Larkin, who grew up in Waterford Township, is just 18, after all. It's hardly necessary that the club puts him on a fast track to Detroit that they know spoiled the potential careers of other prospects in the formative years of a team that has qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs for 24 straight seasons.

"There's a big difference between now and where we were in the '80s, when I was the general manager," said Jim Devellano, the team's senior vice president. "We had been so bad and the cupboard was so bare. And when your team's not good, the coaches get impatient."

That's now how the Wings run any more, and as Ken Holland told Gave, if Larkin can prove that he's NHL-ready in training camp, that's one thing, but it's also not an expected outcome:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Friedman updates Wings-Blashill meeting status

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

This is no surprise, especially given the insistent nature of Jeff Blashill's "no comments" to the media today:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

All About NBC Sports Group’s Center of Attention: The Unreal Life Of Derek Sanderson

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Stamford, Conn. – May 27, 2015 – NBC Sports Group announced today the launch of NBC Sports Films, a new initiative that will leverage NBC Olympics’ Emmy Award-winning storytelling heritage and personnel to produce sports documentaries that will air across NBC Sports Group’s multiple platforms. NBC Sports Films will annually produce multiple long-form projects to be presented across NBC, NBCSN, NBC Sports Regional Networks and NBC Sports Digital.

NBC Sports Films’ first project, Center of Attention: The Unreal Life of Derek Sanderson, a one-hour documentary that chronicles the remarkable life of former NHL star and two-time Stanley Cup Champion Derek Sanderson, will premiere on NBCSN on Monday, June 8, following Game 3 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

“Storytelling has always been a prominent component of NBC Sports’ coverage of signature events. We are excited to expand those efforts and further serve our audience by providing additional long-form content across all NBC Sports Group platforms,” said Mark Levy, Senior Vice President, Original Productions and Creative, NBC Sports Group. “Our debut film, Center of Attention, is a compelling portrait of the extraordinary life of Derek Sanderson, who has lived the highest of highs and the most challenging lows a life in the spotlight can produce.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, NHL Media, , | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: derek+sanderson

What Will Peter DeBoer Bring To The San Jose Sharks?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,

DeBoer will likely have a heavier hand than his predecessor. One of the central reasons that the Sharks and McLellan parted ways on April 20 was that management wasn’t always happy with McLellan giving his veteran or established players extended ice time, despite prolonged slumps or perceived weak efforts. That should change under DeBoer, who has never been afraid to send messages through reduced ice time or the occasional healthy scratching.

According to a Sharks source, the club likes the fact that DeBoer will make “tough decisions, but he’s also creative and innovative.”

DeBoer is also known as a strong puck possession coach, as more and more teams gravitate toward those types of so-called advanced metrics. The Sharks have typically been strong in that area, although they finished just 13th in the league in possession (as measured by shot attempts) in 2014-15.

In his press conference on April 20, Wilson said: “We’re trying to acquire players that are puck possession players, because that’s the style of game we believe in. You can see where we’re going and where we think the game is going. … We want to play a possession game.”

DeBoer has shown he can do that.


Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: peter+deboer

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